Top 8 Certifications For Construction Project Managers


construction certifications

The question that is often asked by those in the construction industry is, “What are the actual certifications for construction project managers that ensure the ability to move into the superintendent pay scale?” The majority of the time, an answer can’t seem to be agreed upon by the three project managers that are in the field having the discussion.

Perhaps the reason that they cannot agree upon an answer is the fact that, although all 3 of the project managers perform the same functions in the job every day, all 3 of them have a different title. There are many different titles for construction project managers that are widely used in the field, such as construction superintendent, project foreman, and project engineer are a few of the titles we frequently hear when referring to construction project managers.

There are more than just multiple titles for the construction project manager: there are also many ways to learn the ins and outs of how to perform the duties involved in the day to day role. To become a construction project manager, you can take the academic route, the vocational training route, or the OJT (On The Job Training) route, and still achieve the same set of results.

1.    What Exactly Do Construction Project Managers Do Daily?

Construction project managers are vital to any job site where even the groundbreaking or demo has begun. They consult with the architects and surveyors to develop job scopes, plans, and budgets for projects. They schedule the daily progression of project labor to keep the project running on schedule, and they also ensure that the job site remains in OSHA compliance every day to keep the site from being shut down for unsafe work or accidents occurring.

Perhaps the most important role that the construction project manager must be sure to fulfill is to serve as the liaison between the construction team and the client. By doing so, they ensure that the project is progressing at a rate that keeps the client happy, and is moving at a pace that isn’t getting laborers injured or working them 20 hours of overtime every week to keep the project on schedule.

Essentially, the construction project manager serves as the minder of the clock and the wallet on every job site they oversee. Some construction project managers are seasoned veterans that can run 4 or 5 multi-million dollar projects at once without flinching. Other construction project managers are fresh out of certification training, swallowing tums by the handful while considering changing careers with one project that is experiencing some minor hiccups.

The construction project manager could focus on one area of construction, such as residential builds, or they could oversee residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional builds. It is often decided by the level of experience that the construction project manager has. Some are only comfortable overseeing one type of build, but generally, you’ll find they are well versed in every aspect of overseeing builds because they are so familiar with the concept behind the build.

They will walk the project through from the initial concept, through initiating, defining, planning, launching, and finally tracking the build and all material affiliated with it, including budgets, change orders, and staffing the build through scheduling labor. So, essentially if you feel as though you can perform a build from the idea to the ribbon cutting, you are probably a good candidate for successfully being a construction project manager.

So how would you find the correct answer when it comes to the question of what certifications construction project managers need to have to gain employment in their field? In this article, we will give you the answers to that question, and point you in the right direction for the certifications you wish to obtain.

2.    Is It Necessary To Be Certified To Become A Construction Project Manager?

The answer is no. You aren’t required by any association or labor regulatory board to carry certification in anything to be employed as a construction project manager. However, just because you’re not required to carry any certifications certainly doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. At the very minimum, if you’re going to be on a construction site in the capacity of a project manager, you should carry an OSHA Outreach Training Program certification. The OSHA Outreach Training Program is offered in a 10-hour course to teach entry-level avoidance and prevention of workplace injury, and a 30-hour course that is intended for construction professionals on the job site in the capacity of a manager or safety advisor.



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The Occupational Safety And Health Alliance offers many different courses, from confined space entry to fire watch training, and everything in between, but the best training to obtain to walk onto a construction site with no project management training is the Outreach Training Program. Not only does it make you aware of some of the dangers on the site, but it also teaches you to train others to look out for workplace hazards.

In general, the construction industry has started to lean toward accepting bachelor’s level degrees in fields like architecture, engineering, or construction management in lieu of the mandatory 8 years of construction management in an on-site position that was often the minimum level of OJT accepted. A bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field and the ability to pass the CCM certification tests within 3 tries is the new unwritten rule for qualifying and obtaining a certified construction manager

3.    What Are Some General Construction Certifications A Construction Project Manager Might Want To Pursue?

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) offer a course for the construction project manager that covers all critical areas of project management. Those that successfully complete the week-long course earn credit hours toward their licenses and any professional designations that they’re working toward.

Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) provides a certification course for certified construction managers. In order to be considered eligible for the course, the candidate must be considered an eligible candidate, which is determined by a 48 non-overlapping month record of working in a role responsible for the completion of construction projects. After being deemed eligible, the candidate must apply, submit for candidacy, and pass their exam.

Global Association For Quality Management (GAQM) has a 3 tier certification course program for those wishing to gain certifications in construction project management. The first of the three is an Associate in Project Management (APM) certification, which requires no experience in order to test for the certification.

Following the APM certification, the Professional in Project Management (PPM) certification, and, finally, the Certified Project Director (CPD) certification. The level of experience necessary to qualify for the certification increases from the APM gradually to allow for seasoned professionals to add certifications as the hectic schedule of Construction Project Management allows.

American Institute of Constructors (AIC) offers skill certification and Constructor Certification Programs that assist those in the construction field with transitioning into management roles. This course is geared toward the seasoned construction worker as opposed to those without actual job-site experience.

American Concrete Institute (ACI) offers 30 certification programs. The programs that ACI offers are designed to help set minimum qualification standards in place for those employed in the concrete construction industry. According to ACI, over 550,000 people have pursued ACI certification. This program is a necessary part of your training if you work in the concrete industry, but it can help you to look into these certifications even if you simply pour an exterior staircase every few months.

National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) administers 23 certifications in workforce training on specialty services such as coatings inspector, or corrosion technology. This is training and certification that is geared toward corrosion specialists, but it is the knowledge that could be incredibly valuable to the construction project manager. NACE bases its certification on course completion and a display of competency in the field.

Even if you don’t work as a corrosion professional, NACE can help you to feel competent and comfortable with corrosion repair when it occurs in the course of another build.

National Institution Certification In Engineering Technologies (NICET) programs cater to the engineering side of construction, and they offer nationally recognized certification programs for that crowd. Civil Engineers, those working in Fire Protection, and Security Systems would benefit greatly from obtaining a certification from NICET.

National Center For Construction Education and Research (NCCER) offers a little more than the rest of the group that are listed here. In addition to the credentials and certificates that are offered by the NCCER, they also operate a secure database that keeps track of the constructors who have completed and successfully been certified in their training program. NCCER offers a program that covers over 70 areas in construction, so they have a certification program for every pro that is seeking certification in a particular area.

4. What Are The Differences Between Construction Superintendent, Project Foreman, Project Engineer and Construction Project Manager?

Finally, to answer the question between the 3 construction project managers that were discussed at the beginning of the article, although they may perform the same job functions every single day on every site, there is a reason behind the difference in titles. The construction foreman may have just as much knowledge, experience, and ability as the construction project manager, but there is no college leave or certification level training that typically needs to occur before a construction foreman can work into that position.

The construction superintendent has a much larger area of responsibility than the other titles, and they may work on a regional or statewide basis in terms of the projects that they oversee. The superintendent usually has a BSc/BA in engineering, building science, or another closely related field, The construction superintendent sometimes will possess a master’s degree in one of those fields.

But the construction project manager is often the all-inclusive title that is assigned to the person that is on the site of the job, ensuring that the work is getting done on time, on budget, and on the exact set of plans that were drawn up at the onset of the job and approved by the client. If problems arise, he is to find a manner in which to quickly and quietly handle them and keep the schedule of the project to almost a hairline difference, if there is a difference at all.

Essentially, the construction project manager serves as the minder of the clock and the wallet on every job site they oversee. Some construction project managers are seasoned veterans that can run 4 or 5 multi-million dollar projects at once without flinching. Other construction project managers are fresh out of certification training, swallowing tums by the handful while considering changing careers with one project that is experiencing some minor hiccups.

The construction project manager could focus on one area of construction, such as residential builds, or they could oversee residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional builds. It is often decided by the level of experience that the construction project manager has. Some are only comfortable overseeing one type of build, but generally, you’ll find they are well versed in every aspect of overseeing builds because they are so familiar with the concept behind the build.

They will walk the project through from the initial concept, through initiating, defining, planning, launching, and finally tracking the build and all material affiliated with it, including budgets, change orders, and staffing the build through scheduling labor. So, essentially if you feel as though you can perform a build from the idea to the ribbon cutting, you are probably a good candidate for successfully being a construction project manager.

If you are the type of person who loves being in the classroom and getting textbook education, you would probably benefit the most from the academic entry into construction project management. If you have attended a trade or vocational school and would like to perform OJT in order to become qualified to be a construction project manager, that is absolutely perfect as well. The great thing about obtaining skill and knowledge in construction is that you become invaluable to your field the better that you become.

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